Sorry, all tours are currently sold out!
For just four days in January, one of the most beloved historical spots in Monterey will be open to the public for tours. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to tour Doc Ricketts’ Lab!
Ever wonder what that mysterious rustic wood shed near the Monterey Bay Aquarium is? It’s not just some no-name “historic” building. It’s the site of Ed Ricketts’ Pacific Biological Laboratories, which was fictionalized in John Steinbeck’s novel “Cannery Row” as Western Biological, the place where “you can order anything living…and sooner or later you will get it.”
The building wasn’t just legendary in fiction. It was a social hub for literary greats such as Joseph Campbell, Henry Miller and (naturally) John Steinbeck. The lab remained a gathering spot and artistic mecca after Ricketts’ death. The idea for the Monterey Jazz Festival was spawned in the lab and the men’s club that bought Pacific Biological Laboratories was the first board of governors for the event.
This beloved historic and literary site on Cannery Row is rarely open to visitors. For just four days in January, you’ll get your chance to tour the building. Best of all, it’s free!
The Pacific Biological Laboratories (aka Ed Ricketts' Lab) will be hosting free one-hour tours in honor of the publication anniversary of John Steinbeck’s novel “Cannery Row,” published in January 1945. Docents will be on hand to explain the life of Ed Ricketts and how he formed a friendship with local writer John Steinbeck. The tour will also present the history of the building and show the ways in which it was once used for marine biology supplies.
Tours will be held on Saturdays, January 14 and 21 at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm, and Sundays, January 15 and 22 at 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm. Reservations for the tours are limited and may be made by contacting the Colton Hall Museum at 831-646-5640.
Want a souvenir of your trip? Visitors can purchase a copy of “Cannery Row,” featuring a Pacific Biological Laboratories photo bookplate, after the tour.
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Author: Allyson Ryan
As the Content Marketing Manager at the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Allyson manages digital marketing and social media for SeeMonterey. If she's not taking scenic pictures around the county, you are likely to find her on the Monterey Bay Coastal Rec Trail, sipping wine in Carmel Valley, or hiking in Big Sur.